Citrus County, FL) On September 28th, 2020, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) was contacted in reference to a verbal disturbance. Upon arrival, deputies observed an infant victim with multiple bruises and swelling on their face and head. Deputies observed the victim was breathing, but not alert or responsive.
Emergency Medical Services immediately responded and the victim was airlifted for emergency treatment. Detective Barry and Detective Arnold with the CCSO Special Victim’s Unit responded to the scene and began an investigation. The suspect, 36-year-old Jessica Figueroa of Merritt Island, initially told detectives that the victim was injured in a fall.
During the investigation, preliminary information was obtained from medical staff that the trauma sustained by the victim was abusive in nature, and not the result of a fall. During an interview with detectives, Figueroa admitted she had noticed the victim was having medical issues and did not seek medical attention. She also admitted to striking the victim multiple times in the head and face, but claimed she had lapses in memory of the past weekend.
Figueroa was placed under arrest for Aggravated Child Abuse and Child Neglect. She was given no bond per the bond schedule.
“It is never easy for law enforcement officers, even seasoned detectives, to work cases of this nature,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “Children are precious, and it is the responsibility of every adult to nurture and protect them. Figueroa abandoned this responsibility, physically harming the child and denying them proper medical treatment. Our dedicated detectives within the Special Victim’s Unit will never stop seeking justice for the members of our community who cannot defend themselves.”
It is important for us all to remember, if you see something, say something. Child abuse can be reported by calling the Florida Department of Children and Families at 1-800-962-2873.